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Minervois Cruisers
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hamble66 wrote a review Jun 2019
Dartford, United Kingdom40 contributions30 helpful votes
Best customer service so helpful prior to the actual holiday with information, booking taxi transfers and additional shopping abover the standard hamper on their booking form. Nothing too much trouble Emily was terrific. Emily & Tony were on holiday when we collected the boat but Nick was fabulous great people person told us everything we needed to know and was friendly, professional and very funny, great start. Boat was extremely clean and comfortable lovely bed and everything you needed for a self-catering holiday. Our little narrowboat Olonzac was perfect and got a lot of attention from other canal users and people on walking on the canal sides taking photo’s of it. We has 10 nights and went from Le Somail to Carcassonne and back mooring each way at Argens-Minervois, Homps, Marseillette, Trèbes and Carcassonne some great restaurants along the way and shops for supplies. I cannot recommend Minervois enough they are a great company and the canal is an experience I would highly recommend. Hand back was a simple quick process sad it was over.
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Date of experience: June 2019
1 Helpful vote
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Joanne B wrote a review Aug 2018
Wirral UK218 contributions88 helpful votes
+1
This was a family holiday with 6 members ranging from 82 to 17. 3 of the group had done narrowboat holidays 3/4 times previously in the UK. Minervois only have one base so routes have to be circular. We did lots of preplanning on routes with use of Google Earth, Fluvial Maps and guides as well as whatever reviews we could find. Hence the lengthy review as despite this we felt we were singularly unprepared. Any small towns easily accessible were heaving with parked boats, so our idea of stopping each day at canal side restaurants did not materialise. Sallele d"Aude was the exception good mooring, water ,supermarket & restaurants nearby. We took the route from Le Somail to the Canal de la Robine towards the sea, to avoid crowds on the route to Carcassonne. Due to lack of speed, many locks and lack of shade we turned back onto the Midi toward Beziers. Our main issue was the heatwave, up to 40c and no shade in a lot of areas as the trees have been felled due to disease. The boat got very hot and we eventually returned it early and went to a hotel with a/c. The Boat Minervois were lovely people to deal with, helped with queries & provided (for a fee) a pack of basic foodstuffs and a bike, recommended a B&B booked taxis and generally were very friendly. Emily gave us a fairly lengthy talk about the boat before we left and as they were ready let us board & get away early. We had seen photos and diagram on the site of the boat but no detailed reviews online. Our boat, Narbonne, is capable of sleeping 10 so we expected more room than necessary. The boat is built in UK steel & timber, 20+tons weight. Slow to respond to steering and very heavy to hold in the locks. Engine may have been regulated but never got above 4km an hour approx which meant that times given in guides were way out as these referred to pleasure craft which could do up to 8km an hour legally. Lounge area OK, bench seats with plush fabric so difficult to slide along. Only power points are in this area, some ran off inverter so operative only when motor running. The engine had to run for 7 hours to power the 2 fridges. Kitchen tiny and dark, we had to take a flash photo of the cupboard under the sink to see what pans we had! Crockery & utensils provided fine. Master bedroom ,small double bed against the walls on 3 sides, 4th side abutted bathroom wall and sink with only approx 2ft of bed open to the floor space. 2 adults could stand in the floor space but not move. Bathroom with small bath, overhead shower & toilet. Small drawer under bed and a small wardrobe. Middle bedroom 2 singles, small washbasin & wardrobe. Bow bedroom 2 bunks, double bed, sink wardrobe. No storage under beds for cases, need to take soft bags. Only the bow room had windows on both sides to get air movement other rooms we had to leave doors open to very narrow corridor to get any air flow. There is a flying bridge and table & chairs and 2 sunbeds on the top deck, however no shade other than the parasol on the table which inevitably caught the breeze to the extent we nearly lost the table on one occasion. Canals Our experienced members actually like “doing the locks” on UK canals. We were advised the French ones were easier as they are either manned (Midi) or automatic (Robine & Jonction). Actually they were really hard work. 1) they only operate 9am to 7pm with an hour break noon to 1pm, even the automatic ones (in case you need to call for help) So you can’t set off early morning when it is cool. 2) they are wide and deep, very deep in some cases, and the water comes in very fast so you have to rope the boat to bollards fore and aft & hold onto the ropes to ensure the boat doesn't move & smash into the lock gates or other boats in the lock. If you are heading upstream where you go in low and the lock fills this means someone on the dockside catching ropes and passing them round the bollard and back (or using a boathook to get them ) 3) On the automatic ones you have to stop at a pontoon, holding the boat by the ropes, whilst someone goes to the lock and presses a button to say which way you are going. When the lock gates open and the traffic light changes to green you drive in secure the ropes again and the person on the lock presses a button to say you are ready and the lock then fills or empties. You then have to collect the button presser (or lockmeister as we called them) on the other side of the lock if you are going downstream as someone has to stay at the top of lock in case of problems such as ropes snagging. 4) In our case 20 odd tons of a long boat called for a lot a holding on to the ropes in the locks to make sure we didn’t damage ourselves or others. I don’t know if the fibreglass boats were easier but they looked it! As I mentioned it is worth noting that a lot of the shade trees have been cut down and even where replanted they are only saplings. We really enjoyed the early morning sailing when it was cool, and the "lockless" stretches, eating on the top deck in the evening and morning. The afternoon heat, lack of air & heat in the evenings were a killer though.
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Date of experience: August 2018
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John N wrote a review Jun 2018
Monks Eleigh, United Kingdom224 contributions55 helpful votes
+1
Four of us combined a stay at the Hotel de la Cite in Carcassonne followed by a week cruising on Canal de Midi. I spent time researching the various companies offering canal cruising opportunities and finally decided on Minervois Cruisers as this company has a number of traditional style steel canal boats. We were not disappointed. From my very first email, I received first class, informative, professional, friendly and attentive personal service. This family-run business has meeting customers’ needs at its heart and nothing is too much trouble. Their fleet of boats is well-maintained, well-equipped and fitted out to a high standard. We opted (4 adults) for a vessel called Carcassonne and found we had ample space with two bathrooms, a spare bedroom, galley and saloon/lounge area. Based in the pretty village of Le Somail. Minervois Cruisers is very well located. Bikes can be hired and ‘starter’ hampers bought to start off the cruising. We had taxis arranged for us and found all the help, advice and guidance we required. Minervois Cruisers provided us with excellent service throughout and I would recommend the company without reservation.
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Date of experience: June 2018
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SusanBOxford wrote a review Jul 2017
Oxford, United Kingdom107 contributions121 helpful votes
What a fantastic holiday! We are so pleased that we booked with Minervois, as the service could not have been better. Emily and her team were great, friendly and helpful. We were collected from Carcassone on time and had a full tour of the boat and a little practice drive. Emily gave us some restaurant recommendations for stops along our route and every one was excellent! The boat was well equipped and clean, and we were given extra towels and a second umbrella when we requested them. The only thing missing would be a fan, as the temperatures were around 30 degrees every day. We had a problem with the steering in the middle of the week, and the engineer was with us within 20 minutes and happily fixed the problem for us. The route we picked (number 1 on the list) was perfect and allowed us to go at our own pace, stop when we wanted and get to see everything we wished too. We were all very sad to leave our not so little boat at the end of the week, and we will definitely be back.
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Date of experience: July 2017
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Mike H wrote a review Apr 2017
Standish, United Kingdom20 contributions8 helpful votes
We wanted to travel on the Canal, having been on a barge holiday in the U.K. So we decided to use Minervois Cruisers. Emily picked us up from Bezier airport for a taxi fee and took us to the barge. The barge was well painted on the outside and clean and well equipped on the inside. The only drawback was that the bedding did look very old as the pattern had faded. So considering the cost of the boat, some reinvestment is needed. The canal is lovely on the whole and being on a barge allows you the freedom to stop wherever you want to. We stopped at a lot of villages and had wine tasting at Paraza. Unfortunately some of the Poplar trees have been cut down because of a disease, but they are being replaced. Also we came across quite a few sunken boats moored along the canal. We found it difficult to find moorings at times, so it must be really difficult in peak season! Overall, we enjoyed the holiday.
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Date of experience: April 2017
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